Visual Arts Program

Friday, March 18, 2011 — Friday, May 6, 2011

Erin Finley

Erin Finley
Erin Finley

The drawings of Toronto-based artist Erin Finley collapse a rigorous and often rapturous drawing style with deviant, transgressive, and sometimes morally elastic themes. Often comically rendered, they are nonetheless lovingly realized, with a delicacy that sometimes belies the harsh edges from which some of the work is derived.

Finley hybridizes a feminist, even riot grrrl, sensibility with elements that may draw upon the antecedents of Disney animation, the hyperbolic identities of young pop icons, and the desultory and darker themes of drug use, sexual exploitation, and physical violence. Guantanamo allusions morph into s&m sexual play, suicide bombers work the stripper pole, bottomless androgynes engage in rape fantasies or engage in phone sex, and drugs are imbibed with the playful nonchalance of a tea party through the looking glass.

There is also a persistent high/low dynamic at work, as designer shoes and hats (not to mention an often regal-seeming appearance) exist alongside sneakers, trucker caps, and visible tampons. Scale and perspective are played for comic effect and several drawings include smaller annotated drawings within, built-in commentaries upon the main action.

While there are recurring motifs of female dominance and male submission, Finley is ultimately not describing sexual power plays, but is rather touching upon the often deeply ambiguous complexity inherent in desire—the significant difference between a rape and a rape fantasy. Texturing this complexity is Finley's delicate and beautiful drawing style, in which the figures are so languorously captured it becomes impossible to deny their attraction.

Erin Finley would like to acknowledge the support of the Toronto Arts Council and the Ontario Arts Council.

Erin Finley is a feminist artist whose drawings have been exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum (New York), Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Centre (Buffalo), Femina Potens (San Francisco), Syracuse University (New York), Sarah Lawrence College (New York), the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (Toronto), Peak Gallery (Toronto), Paul Petro Special Projects (Toronto), and the Nickel Arts Museum (Calgary). In 2004, she obtained a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Calgary and produced a thesis dissertation consisting of punk paintings on satin.

Some publications related to this event:
February and March, 2011 - 2011

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from Sep. 22, 2017
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David Schirm
All The Glad Variety

Though distilled into broad symbolic forms or abstract landscapes, David Schirm's work often springs from his own experiences during the Vietnam War and paintings may allude to the scenes of horrific and senseless battles, the strafing of weapons across a landscape, "whose laser-like blazes of fired bullets gave a distinctive hum of un-worldliness to the darkness." Though his depictions of landscape forms even touch upon the pastoral in their depiction and use of color, Schirm's original point o ...